Euless, Texas was first settled in about 1867 as a small farming community in North Central Texas. The City is located midway between Dallas and Fort Worth Texas, just west of DFW International Airport. It was incorporated in 1953 and at the time of the 2000 U.S. Census had a population of 46,005. The City of Euless encompasses approximately 16.3 square miles. (42.1 KM2).
Helen Jean Cannon Gleghorn (1929-2013), a long time resident of Euless, Texas, is a descendant of several founding families of Euless—Cannon, Ferris, Whitener, Fuller. She is the older or two children born to Lloyd Thomas "Jim" Cannon (1900-1982) and Jessie May Ferris Cannon (1901-1984).
Ofa (Mary) Faiva-Siale: is a resident of Euless, Texas. At the time of this interview she was working for the City of Euless as a liaison to the Euless Historical Preservation Committee.
Gary Fieldsend: is a resident of Euless, Texas. At the time of this interview he was a member of the Euless Historical Preservation Committee.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Well, thank you for taking this time to speak with us. Today we are doing an oral history recording of Mrs. Gleghorn. Can you tell us your full name?
Helen Gleghorn: Helen Jean Cannon Gleghorn.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Do you know why you were named Helen?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes I was named after my Godmother’s daughter; her name was Helen Jean, mother named me after her.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And who’s your Godmother and where was she from?
Helen Gleghorn: Ann Park, she was from Dallas. I was born on April 23rd in 1929 and my Daddy worked in Dallas at the Ford Plant. Mother and Daddy were both born right here in Euless and so I consider myself as being a first born ‘Eulessite’ (general laughter) but I was born in Dallas at the Methodist Hospital. We were boarding with some people closer to the Ford Plant so Daddy wouldn’t have to drive so far and we lived there for two years, then we moved back to Euless and we’ve been here ever since.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Okay and what were your parents’ names?
Helen Gleghorn: (Pause) Well, I pause just a minute because my Daddy…Daddy’s parents were Arch [Archibald Newton, 1866-1941] and Della [Sarah Idella Whitener, 1872-1946] Cannon, Daddy was a twin, he had a twin sister. Daddy’s name was Lloyd Thomas Cannon and my aunt was named Lois Elizabeth Cannon [1900-1996, Mrs. Frederick Alvin Trimble]. My Granddaddy Cannon was a great one to give everybody a nickname and as I get older, I kind of see why…(laughter)…they were Lloyd and Lois and Granddaddy nicknamed them Jim and Rose, so everybody in Euless knew Daddy as Jim Cannon but his name was Lloyd Thomas Cannon.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: How interesting. Do you have siblings, Helen?
Helen Gleghorn: One younger brother Joe [Wendell] Cannon, he was born on the 9th of March, 1932.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What was school like for you when you were growing up?
Helen Gleghorn: Okay, we lived over on Pipeline Road turning west [heading south] on Main Street, right at the top of the hill [on the south side of the road], there’s a housing project there now, that’s where we lived, and we walked to school. I remember those cold, cold mornings bundled up in a coat, a good warm coat…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And the school you’re talking about is where South Euless Elementary is now?
Helen Gleghorn: Ah huh, yes.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What was the name of the school when you went there?
Helen Gleghorn: The Euless School.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And what grades did you attend there? What year were those?
Helen Gleghorn: I went from first grade through 12th. That would be 1935 I believe the year I started was 1935 and I graduated in 1946. Now, when we finished the 6th grade, we went to the high school building. We skipped the 7th grade because we were just a 11 year school at that time. They added the 12th grade while I was there, so everyone just skipped a grade and automatically advance one grade up. So we went from 6th grade to 8th grade and we thought we were grown! We were in "high cotton" (general laughter).
Ofa Faiva-Siale: That’s very interesting; can you imagine that happening now?
Helen Gleghorn: No, that can’t happen now. We had a District Superintendent [this would be the County School Superintendent; the Euless District had its own resident Superintendent who lived next door to the school and also taught there] that came to our school; I would say once or twice every few months, he’d just walk through and just see that everything was going well…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did you have a favorite subject in school; did you have fond memories of school?
Helen Gleghorn: Oh I have a lot of memories. By the time we got to 8th grade, the United States was just getting involved in World War II and our favorite thing to do was gather scrap metal. The cemetery is absolutely beautiful now but back when I was a child, it was a dumping ground for junk. We got more scrap metal from the cemetery than we did from the road side.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What cemetery was that?
Helen Gleghorn: Calloway Cemetery.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Would that have been considered the "Euless Cemetery" at that time?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, most of the early settlers are buried there. My Mother and Daddy are buried in Colleyville. I can’t remember the name of that cemetery [Bluebonnet] right now. My Granddaddy on my mother’s side, Henry Ferris [1879-1957], owned the property to the cemetery line. He sold, I believe it was 10 acres; he sold it to Arch and Della Cannon and added it to the cemetery going east. The Cannons bought it for their family; it was going to be the family plot. Nobody is buried there except Mother Cannon and Granddaddy. Their children are buried somewhere else. Back then, the people who had graves or family buried at the cemetery would go regularly and clean off their family graves, and that’s the way the cemetery was kept. I remember the grass burrs, they were high, and you had to wear shoes, you couldn’t go down there bare footed. Anyway, it’s been deeded back because after the children of Arch and Della Cannon started dying they deeded it back, gave it back to the cemetery. [When Arch Cannon died in 1941, Ross Reuben Cannon, 1897-1980, his son, bought 1/10 acre for the family from Henry Ferris, for Cannon burials. Ross deeded the property to the cemetery in 1979.]
Ofa Faiva-Siale: I see, ok. And your mother’s parents, what were their names?
Helen Gleghorn: Henry Ferris, H.F. Ferris, and my Grandmother, her name was named Ida Sarah Martha Fuller, and she married a Ferris but she was a Fuller.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And where was your maternal Grandmother from, was she from Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, her daddy came from Tennessee when all the Fullers came. If I’m not mistaken, he was a brother to "Mood" Fuller and J.R. Fuller’s uncle.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And that would be your great grandfather?
Helen Gleghorn: My great grandfather, his name was Henry B. Fuller.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Can you tell us about your great grandmother on your maternal grandmother’s side?
Helen Gleghorn: Her name was Emma Walls. [M. Emma or Emily, 1853-1911.] My grandmother’s daddy, Henry B. Fuller, was killed on a horse and buggy accident. Somewhere or another the buggy turned over and it killed him. He was a young man, I don’t know how old he was, but he was a young man. My grandmother was quite young when that happened, and she was mad at her daddy when he left (passed away), I’m not sure why, but she always regretted that.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Oh, that he passed away too early?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, and it just goes to show that we got to stay on good terms with everybody, nobody ever knows when or what. I don’t know much about the Wall family. When my granddaddy, Henry B. Fuller, died she [Emma] remarried, the man’s name was Mr. Koonce, [Robert L. or J.R. Koonce, 1854-after 1910] and I never knew his first name.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Interesting, you know a lot though, you recall a lot.
Helen Gleghorn: Well, my mother was quite a historian and back in those days, she kept records, and she said they were for Joe and me, and we couldn’t cared less, (chuckle) I had to get old before I got interested.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: That’s the same with everybody, that’s how a lot of people are.
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, it’s because of mother that Joe and I know about the community. He knows about as much as I do but we don’t always agree (chuckle), I would recall it one way and he would recall it another (laughter). I started to suggest to him that he come with me today but then I thought no, we would get into a big argument and that would hamper our little interview here so you will have to talk to him separately.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: (Laughter) I understand. We might just have to do that. Let me ask you about funerals back then? Are there something about funerals that were different back then than how they are done now?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, the services as I can remember were just nearly always held under the tabernacle [at Calloway Cemetery]. They had benches, the old church benches and I kind of smiled when you said funerals, because there was one time, there was one funeral and I don’t know whose it was but I shall never forget. Mother’s aunt, Aunt Cindy Fuller Ferris, I don’t know if she had polio, I don’t know what she had, but she walked with a limp and carried a cane. We were at a funeral and a lizard ran up her leg, the preacher was preaching his sermon, and she started jumping and slinging that walking cane and hollering, and nobody knew what was going on, but you just couldn’t keep from laughing, you know (general laughter). I wish, I wish I could remember whose funeral it was. I’ve been to many funerals; Mother always took us to funerals.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Were there wakes or anything like that back in those days? Or did they have to bury the deceased within a certain time frame?
Helen Gleghorn: Well they took them to their home, most of time. I can remember when they stopped doing that, the funeral homes, you know. But they would take them home, and men would sit up all night long at the house where the body was. They would go in two hour shifts and I remember Daddy would always be on one shift. And I can remember him sitting out there in the yard on cane bottom chairs, the men.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And what would they do?
Helen Gleghorn: They would just talk, there was usually as many as six there and probably as few as three, but you know people didn’t have as much to do back then as they do now and this was just common practice. You would just show up to spend the night out in the yard at the deceased’s home.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And then after that, they would take him for burial the next morning?
Helen Gleghorn: Uh, huh, yes.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Ok, that’s interesting. When did you get married and what is your husband’s name?
Helen Gleghorn: I married Glen Gleghorn in 1949. That’s another thing, when men introduced themselves, they say Gleghorn (Gleg-horn…with the "h" sound) the women usually say Gleghorn (Gleg-orn…without the "h" sound). It’s Irish and they don’t pronounce the "h", and so, I just like the sound of Gleghorn (silent h) better than Gleghorn (with the "h"). And if somebody called and ask for Mrs. Gleghorn (with the "h"), I ask, "what are you selling?" because all my friends call me Gleghorn (silent "h"). (Laughter)
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And what is Mr. Gleghorn’s birth date?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes his birthday is March 22nd and he was born in 1924. Yes we live here in Euless.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And did you meet him here in Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: His daddy owned a Dairy just the other side of the railroad track [south of Rock Island Railroad, now TRE] on west of Hwy 157 and I had a friend that I went to school with that rode the bus to work in Dallas. She rode with Glen’s two sisters and they had horses. Glen’s sisters kept asking her to come and ride their horses. Her name was Louise Lambert and she later married Malcolm Scoggins, a boy from Irving. She decided to go riding and she asked me to go with her, and I did and he saddled my horse and so that is how I met him.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Was it love at first sight?
Helen Gleghorn: Well he was awful cute. (General laughter)
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Was there something you recall about courtship or you know about courtship back in those days that might be different from todays?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, I was in college when I met him.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Where did you go to college?
Helen Gleghorn: Texas Wesleyan, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Ok, and what was your degree in?
Helen Gleghorn: Speech and a minor in English. I may be getting ahead of myself, but the basketball coach at that time, in 1946, that was just a small, little college [Texas Wesleyan] and everybody knew everybody. The basketball coach came to Euless as Superintendent the year I graduated. His name was Johnny Edwards and he bugged me for two years to come and teach in Euless. At that time, I didn’t want to go to work; I wasn’t ready to go to work so I delayed. Finally I said okay and I taught speech and English for two years over here at the Euless High School. That was two years before we consolidated. Then I went to L.D. Bell, actually, to Hurst and had classes at, I think it’s a union building now, but it was the Hurst Elementary School. They didn’t have a high school at that time.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And where did those kids go to school?
Helen Gleghorn: They either came to Euless or they went to Riverside.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Ok, well Euless is one up on Bedford aren’t they (laughter)?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, you know, Bedford didn’t come in the merge until later. It was just Hurst and Euless. Hurst, Euless, that’s right. Then Bedford decided to become a part of it later.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And it is a good thing they did.
Helen Gleghorn: It was.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Ok. Do you recall any major illnesses or health problems that you might have had over the years? And if you did how that was dealt with or how was it handled?
Helen Gleghorn: I had pneumonia before I started school and we were living out here but my mother’s sisters were living in Dallas, so to be near the doctor we stayed with an aunt until I got better.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Were there many doctors in the area, did Euless have a doctor?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, no, Dr. Rhodes was before my time, he was here during my mother’s time. We either went to Dr. McKissick or Dr. Bobo, in Arlington; I think McKissick might have been in Irving. [Drs. Bobo and McKissick were in Arlington, Dr. Gilbert in Irving.] Irving and Arlington were where Euless people would go. See, Daddy worked in Dallas even after they moved back here he worked at the Ford Plant for 19 years.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: So he drove up there every day? And when you were sick you all just stayed up there?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, but the Ford plant was on the other side of Dallas it wasn’t on this side of Dallas, you had to go a distance. I remember my mother would fix his lunch and wrap it in a newspaper.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Nothing was ever thrown away I imagine…
Helen Gleghorn: No not much. We didn’t have paper sacks to throw away, but she folded a newspaper like a package and tied it with a string and that was his lunch.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: That’s interesting. What would you say was a normal lunch back then?
Helen Gleghorn: Some kind of sandwich, Daddy always killed a hog in November or the first cold spell and they would preserve the meat and we had a lot of ham.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And the meat would last throughout the year?
Helen Gleghorn: Well yeah, I don’t know how they did it but dry salt.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Smoked it, dry salt?
Helen Gleghorn: Yeah, smoked it, but I never got in on that, I just ate it. Daddy raised vegetables; he was a farmer as well as a nurseryman.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: You all grew it on your own property?
Helen Gleghorn: Um hmm, he had 55 acres there.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And where was that at?
Gary Fieldsend: That’s the place over off of Pipeline? 10
Helen Gleghorn: Uh, huh.
Gary Fieldsend: Now is it on this side (Northeast) of Pipeline?
Helen Gleghorn: No.
Gary Fieldsend: So it would be the south side of Pipeline.
Helen Gleghorn: Southwest side of Pipeline, and he owned all the way down to Main Street. The house was west of Main on the south side of Pipeline. There’s a Tongan church right across the road from Daddy’s property there.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: We’re talking about the First Tongan United Methodist Church not the Tongan Pentecostal Church?
Helen Gleghorn: Right, yes, the one that’s on Vine and Pipeline.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Do you remember anything that your grandparents might have talked about from their early lives, when they were younger?
Helen Gleghorn: Not necessarily, Granddaddy [Arch Cannon] just always worked all the time at the nursery.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: I understand the nursery business was a very influential business at that time.
Helen Gleghorn: Oh yes, Daddy was a nurserymen also, and Weldon’s [Weldon Green Cannon, 1934-] Daddy [Ross Cannon] worked there with Granddaddy.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: So, how are you and Weldon related?
Helen Gleghorn: Our daddy’s were brothers, we’re first cousins. Mother Cannon (Della), we said Mother Cannon and Granddaddy that’s the way we referred to my grandparents and there were cousins who were much older than I that started the Mother Cannon name, but that’s what we called her. Now, her daddy was Joe Whitener [Joseph Ebenezer Whitener, 1849-1945] and that was my great-granddaddy. I was 9 when he died, and I wished that I had been older and had paid more attention to the things that he told me. I would sit out there in that back porch and he would tell me about his life. One day I was over there and of course the house [located at the top of the hill on the east side of Euless South Main Street in the 800 block] was old and there were cracks in the floor and he always sat out on the back porch, he had his bed out there, that’s where he slept. One day he said; "Helen if you crawl up under the house you might find some coppers," and I said; "Grandfather I have to go home" and he said, "okay." I went home and said; "Mother, Grandfather wanted me to go under the house there’s Copperheads under there, he said I might find some coppers (general laughter) and she said; "he’s talking about pennies". He called pennies, coppers (laughter). That was the end of that conversation but then I wished I had known and crawled under there because pennies were hard to come by back then.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: How interesting. Do you recall anything about the nursery business?
Helen Gleghorn: I picked berries at Granddaddy (Arch) Cannon’s farm. I don’t know but it was sometime before I started school that I started picking berries. We got little boxes that we filled, and you got a penny for every box you filled and you had a wooden crate with a handle on it and you could fit six small boxes in there. Some days I’d make six cents, some days I’d make eleven cents and I’d save my money. By the time Mother and Daddy spend it, I had $35 dollars.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: That was a lot of money back then, hum?
Helen Gleghorn: Well I worked a lot of years, that wasn’t one summer that was the whole thing. Anyway, I was saving my money to buy a bedroom set. Daddy needed the money but they paid me back and I got my bedroom suite.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What would a bedroom suite have gone for at that time?
Helen Gleghorn: Oh, me? I’m not sure, probably $5, this was second hand, we didn’t pay much for it, I don’t know. But every penny counted for something.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Okay. Were there a lot of people that picked berries for money at that time?
Helen Gleghorn: Oh, yes…yes…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did your Granddaddy have his own people or his own staff that picked berries for him?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, yes, he’d, he’d go to Mosier Valley in a flatbed truck and brought workers back from there.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And Mosier Valley, I believe that’s the oldest black community near here, south of Pipeline Road, south of Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes. Most of the workers that picked the berries were black and I got acquainted with a lot of them and we were on first name basis. I enjoyed being with them, I really did. Most of them, well a lot of them have died because they were older than me, I was just a kid, while they were teenagers or grown.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Were they mostly men?
Helen Gleghorn: No, no, there were a lot of women.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And how many people would you say picked berries a day?
Helen Gleghorn: Well I would imagine he’d have at least twenty or so, he had a field full and we’d pick all day, or I’d pick till I was tired then I’d go home (laughter) because it was just up the hill. Weldon’s mother and daddy, Aunt Winnie and Uncle Ross, had a berry shed. I’d call it a lean-to but it didn’t have anything to lean against, so it was a shed. That’s where you would take your berries and leave them and get your money. Aunt Winnie would make sandwiches and they were for sale. They would pay them and if they wanted to eat there they could also buy sandwiches if they wanted to?
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did someone come down and pick up the berries from Dallas?
Helen Gleghorn: You know what, I don’t really know. I would imagine to the Dallas Market, that’s where Daddy took all of his produce. They had a big berry patch; you know I was grown before I knew that a needle was for anything but picking stickers out of your fingers (laughter).
Ofa Faiva-Siale: I understand there’s some historical significance to where you’re currently living Ms. Helen?
Helen Gleghorn: I live at 604 Cannon Drive. Daddy’s twin sister told me that used to be Granddaddy Cannon’s cotton field, that’s where I live.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Had you always lived there?
Helen Gleghorn: No. We lived down on South Main for twenty-eight years and now we’ve been here twenty-eight years. We also lived in the old Calloway house for five years down by the Calloway Cemetery after we married. The Calloway home was just right next to the cemetery.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did you live anywhere else outside of Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, yes, I was still in college when we married, I married in December and finished college in May so from December to May we rented a little duplex real close to the campus. It was close enough for me to walk. That was in Fort Worth in the Polytechnic area.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Other than that, had you ever lived anywhere else outside of Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: No.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Any vacation spots you’ve gone to?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, yes. Daddy would take us to Galveston every summer; he wouldn’t go anywhere else on a vacation. He always took us to Galveston. I have kept that going with my children and now I’ve taken some of my grandsons and three of my great-granddaughters and their mother and daddy. We went to Galveston last summer. My daughter would tell them, now this was started a long time ago and you have to keep it going, you go to Galveston once a year.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Is there a favorite place you stay at?
Helen Gleghorn: No, just where we could find the cheapest. But my Granddaddy Ferris, mother’s daddy, he would take their kids there. Two or three families would go to Galveston every summer and they would camp out at night on their way over there. It might take them two to three days to get there because they'd camp out but eventually, they'd get to Galveston and have fun and then come back home. So Galveston has been a part of my family's life for a long time.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What types of jobs have you had over the years?
Helen Gleghorn: I worked for Daddy’s cousin [Marvin Ralph Cannon, 1916-1999] in a variety store in Dallas, in Oak Cliff when I was thirteen. At that time I was too young to get a social security card but somehow or another, I got one. I worked in the summers; I don’t remember how long, I guess till I started college. I’d go stay with my aunt, close enough to walk to work. So I worked at my dad’s cousin’s Variety Store. I’ve worked all my life. I was a teacher, I taught for fifty-three years.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: You know a lot of kids?
Helen Gleghorn: They say a lot of kids know me. They have to tell me who they are now because they look nearly as old as I do.
Gary Fieldsend: So you started in High School and you taught two years in high school?
Helen Gleghorn: Uh hum, two years.
Gary Fieldsend: And then you taught in elementary?
Helen Gleghorn: No, no, no. I always taught in high school, in HEB [Hurst Euless Bedford School District.] In 1965 my youngest [Thomas Glen Gleghorn, 1965-2002] was born and I didn’t work '65 and '66 but when he was 18 months old, I started substituting. I worked with Bill Gay for the two years that I was here. When we went to Hurst, I worked with him. At that time he was Principal at Euless Junior High and he would call me for substituting. He would call me first and there was one year that I lacked two days of working every day for somebody.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Wow!
Helen Gleghorn: I substituted in shop, Home-Ec, and one day the Home-Ec teacher’s husband was killed in an automobile accident so she took off for six weeks. He (Bill Gay) called me in to substitute in Home-Ec and they were putting in zippers. They were making dresses and putting zippers in and one little girl came up and said, "Mrs. Gleghorn, can you help me put this zipper on?" And I thought, oh, here we go and I said, "well honey, let’s get the book and see," you know we got that zipper in just right (general laughter), it took a while but that’s the only zipper I ever worked on. Well, we had Home-Ec and I took sewing and I hated that dress that I made, hated it! High neck, I don’t know where mother got that pattern from. I just never was very good at that kind of stuff, I had rather, and this is the truth, I had rather been in the field with my Daddy hoeing with my hands, hoeing weeds than to do that lady stuff. I was a tomboy, I will admit. I put in a lot of hours hoeing weeds in the garden and in Daddy’s field and nursery and this and that and the other.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What would you consider one of the most important inventions during your lifetime?
Helen Gleghorn: Well (pause) we were before nylon hose, we were before penicillin; we were before many things that are just taken for granted today. I got a list at home of things that my generation didn’t have. Those cotton hose (laughter), the hose we wore before nylon came in were cotton. It had the seam up the back. You had to keep that seam straight when the nylon hose came out. We didn’t know anything about knee highs and things.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: TV’s and radios and things, everybody had those?
Helen Gleghorn: We got a TV. We married in '49 and we got a TV in '51 I believe. Back in my early life I can remember it was a small battery type thing and you could put little ear phones in and you could kind of get a station. We didn’t have electricity until 1942. We were on Pipeline Road so we had gas lights when everybody else in Euless had to use coat oil lamps. [A natural gas pipeline ran between Fort Worth and Dallas along Pipeline Road.]
Ofa Faiva-Siale: So you all were better off than the other side of Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: When you were younger, were there proper or improper ways of dressing? Did girls have to dress a certain way? Was there a certain way everyone was expected to behave?
Helen Gleghorn: When we were in high school, one of our teachers was Ms. Hattie Belle Cribbs [1915-2010.] She was Hattie Belle Reeves and she married my mother’s cousin who was Lewis Earl Cribbs [1912-2008]. I think her main purpose was teaching us to be young ladies. Her husband was in the service and she didn’t have any children at the time and she took us places that we would never have gone. She took us to the Adolphus Hotel one night. We had to wear our hats, we had to carry our gloves, we had to be dressed nice, that type thing, and ah, she was fun to be with in fact we graduated in 1946, the boys had either dropped out of school to go to work or to go to the service, so ten girls graduated, 5 of us started school together in first grade and then graduated together so we were a close knit group until we got old. (Laughter) We’ve lost three of the ten but where you’d see one you’d usually see at least five, we ran in a pact. We were good; I mean we didn’t get into any trouble we just liked to be together. One of the girls had an old, it was old then, in '44 and '46, old, orange, Chevrolet pickup and it was old, it didn’t have a floorboard, (laughter) it had a part of a floorboard, let me put it that way, and ah, at lunch we would slip off in that pickup like no one would recognize us. We’d go to Fuller Hamburger, Raymond and Lorena Fuller had little hamburger joint on Highway 10. She made the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten. Anyway we sneaked off one day at lunch and coming down toward us; we saw the Superintendent’s car. We all ducked down and you could see where to drive by looking at the floor, and she just kept going, there wasn’t a head sticking up for him to see (general laughter) she could see the road from inside the car. We had a lot of fun back in those days. We really, really did.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: A lot of good wholesome fun! (Laughter)
Helen Gleghorn: Um hu…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did you all go to the movies a lot?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, Ms. Cribbs took us…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Where were the movies at?
Helen Gleghorn: At Dallas or Fort Worth, the Boeing bus went right by the school, that was the route, and we’d catch the bus with Ms. Cribbs, as we had to call her in school. She took us to Fort Worth. One time she came to school and said; "you wouldn’t believe what I saw over the weekend?" She said; "there’s a cleaning establishment in Fort Worth that you’d just walk up to the door and the door just opened and when you walked in, then it closed behind you," and she said; "I’m going to take you all to see it." Well we just thought, we never heard of such a thing and so she took us and we’d walk up there and that door would open and we’d go in (laughter), this is ten girls now following along after Ms. Cribbs, and we’d go in and turn around and come right back out and it’d open. Finally, she told us we were breaking the thing. We didn’t know, we didn’t know what the magic was, but she saw to it that we were exposed to good things. (General laughter)
Ofa Faiva-Siale: What kind of movies did you see?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, good ones (laughter). I don’t remember the names of any. I’m trying to remember some of the names…we had fun.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Were movies in color at that time?
Helen Gleghorn: No, they weren’t. But we didn’t know any difference…(Laughter).
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Let me change gear for a little bit, I understand that here in Euless names such as Cannon, Fuller, Ferris, the Whiteners, etc. were notable names in the city. May I ask were a lot of people in Euless related at that time?
Helen Gleghorn: Everybody was related. They could’ve put up a sign but everything went by word of mouth, don’t talk to anybody about anybody that lived in Euless because you would’ve been talking to some of their kinfolks, and that’s the truth. And some were double kin, related on both the mother and father’s side of the family. (General laughter)
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Do you have any fond memories of times you’ve spent with maybe Bill Byers [1927 -] and Weldon Cannon and Troy Fuller [1927-2010] and…?
Helen Gleghorn: Well Weldon was much younger than we were…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Jimmy Payton [1930-] is also a relative, right?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes his mother and my mother are third cousins so that’s the connection there.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did everybody go to the Methodist Church?
Helen Gleghorn: Methodist or Baptist but most of my relatives were Methodist.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: So Euless was made up of mostly relatives? Did some family members go to the Baptist Church?
Helen Gleghorn: Uhuu, Daddy’s sister [Eula May Cannon, Mrs. Henry Hudson Martin, 1895-1975] married a Baptist and went with him…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did the female spouse usually go with the male spouse’s religion?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, most of the time.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Was there a difference in how weddings were performed back then or were they pretty much the same as today?
Helen Gleghorn: I remember some weddings; a lot of them were at somebody’s house. My mother and Daddy married in a little house over on Vine, where Billy Lee Byers’ mother [Willie May Huffman Byers, 1902 – 1996] was born. A lot of them were home weddings.
Gary Fieldsend: Is that the house over there that was moved over there, that grey one?
Helen Gleghorn: Uhuh, I believe it was Sam Mills’. That’s where Billy’s mother was born and that’s where my mother and Daddy married. Not that spot of ground but in that house.
Gary Fieldsend: That house used to be on the other side of 10 [on Hwy. 10, south of Airport Freeway, east of Industrial Boulevard] right?
Helen Gleghorn: It’s where what used to be Huffman Drive, it belonged to Sam Mills.
Gary Fieldsend: You said you lived over on South Main for a while. Do you remember which house?
Helen Gleghorn: It burned. You know where you go just right under the railroad trestle [heading south on Main Street just past Pipeline on the right immediately after the railroad trestle] where they’ve put in that new housing area? If you’re coming from the cemetery (Calloway) and you’re heading north on Main Street, well the bare land that’s for sale, on the west side of the road, our house was there. Daddy deeded us an acre and 4/10ths and we built there in 1955. And then it was sold and we bought the house on Cannon Drive and the people that rented from the people that we sold to, they were living there and it burned.
Gary Fieldsend: I think I have a picture of the house.
Helen Gleghorn: Good! So that’s where we lived for 28 years.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Anything else you can remember that you’d like to tell us?
Helen Gleghorn: Can I tell you about Billy Lee Byers? On Sunday afternoons, he’d load up his car, he was dating Boyce [Boyce Rae Cook, 1927-2008] and Boyce and I were very good friends and class mates and we’d just drive. At the time it seems to me that Cheek Sparger Road was more hilly than it is now and we called it the "Devil’s Backbone" and as fast as that little ole Chevrolet of Billy Byers would go, that’s what Billy did, it was like riding a roller coaster and of course we would scream and have a big time but ah, on Sunday afternoons when he didn’t have anything else to do he would load us up…
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Now did the adults know?
Helen Gleghorn: Well it wasn’t any of their business (general laughter). Billy Byers was good to us; he’s still one of my best friends.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: He is a very good man…
Helen Gleghorn: I really think a lot of Billy. Back then it was Billy Lee and Troy Merl Fuller and Helen Jean, you know everybody had double names most of the time, and I still say Billy Lee, everyone else says Bill but that hurts my mouth (laughter). Back then Troy was dating a girl that lived in Grapevine, and there was the closest movie house. He would take us on Saturday night and put us out at the show. They had ah, we called him the "town crier," but this little man walked the streets with his little lantern, you know in Grapevine on top of a building there they have a statue of a man holding a lantern, well, the "Old Lamp Lighter," that song came out about that time, it kind of reminded me when we’d go to Grapevine, we’d get out of the movie and we would go out and sit on the curb at the square and he "the town crier" was always around and we’d wait for Troy to come get us and bring us home. They were good to us, Billy and Troy, they really were. Now Jimmy Payton, didn’t graduate from Euless, he graduated I believe from Riverside, I’m pretty sure, he and Bobby Ray Fuller [1929-1980]. Jimmy was a grade behind me, he’s younger than me.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Sound like you all were close and had a lot of fun. When integration took place, were you already out of school?
Helen Gleghorn: I was in college at that particular time.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Was there anything specific about integration that you recall? Were there any problems that you recalled?
Helen Gleghorn: I wasn’t out here in Euless and I don’t know. There were, I’m sure, some citizens, for the lack of a better word, raised more cane than others, you know what I mean?
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Yes…
Helen Gleghorn: But it didn’t do them any good. But being away and just hearing, I really didn’t have a firsthand experience.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: And what about alcohol, how was that received here in Euless at that time? I understand that here in the Euless area, religion has a lot of influence and…
Helen Gleghorn: It was dry, well this area was dry!
Ofa Faiva-Siale: In fact wasn’t it just recently that they allowed wine to be sold in Euless?
Helen Gleghorn: It was several years ago, it wasn’t too long ago that they finally allowed the selling of wine.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: But it was dry, so people couldn’t buy alcohol here? Were they frowned upon, the people who drank?
Helen Gleghorn: There might have been two or three in the community who might have sat on the side of the road down by the cemetery, sitting there taking a swig or two.
Gary Fieldsend: Was that very common?
Helen Gleghorn: I know on that road, the Calloway Cemetery Road, it was not uncommon to find a pickup, somebody down there that you knew, out there enjoying a little of it (laughter). That wasn’t any big problem, of course I was just a kid; I looked at it as it wasn’t any of my business.
Gary Fieldsend: Tell us a little bit more about your husband, we went of topic there. You were going to go horseback riding with him?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, it was a good while after that we started dating. We saw each other a lot, really back then, a mile was a long way off, I was in school, I was in college, but my junior and senior year until I married, we dated, he was in school in Grand Prairie and I don’t know, some kind of agricultural school that he attended. He was in the Army when I met him, I don’t know how long he had been home but he was stationed in Germany and the war ended and his group were getting ready to go to the front line and Germany surrendered, so that’s what saved him there.
Gary Fieldsend: And so he came home and you met him after?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, after the service and we got married in 1949.
Gary Fieldsend: And what did he do for a career?
Helen Gleghorn: Well he was, he was a dairyman with his daddy and brother for a while, and then he drove a butane truck for Elmer Atkins out of Arlington for I don’t know how many years and then he went to work at Fort Worth Christian School in North Richland Hills as maintenance.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Where is he from?
Helen Gleghorn: Irving, Texas.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did your parents like him?
Helen Gleghorn: Yeah they did, mother said that the afternoon of the wedding, Daddy said, "I don’t know if I can walk her down that aisle or not." I was a Daddy’s girl, Daddy was partial to me and mother was partial to Joe, and he’ll admit that too, in fact that’s the only thing we’ll agree on. We married at the Euless Methodist Church and Brother Albert E. Turney was the Pastor at that time. Now, back when I was a child we had church services every other week, it was a circuit, the preacher would have to travel, I don’t remember what year it was that we finally got our own preacher.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did the Baptist Church have the same situation?
Helen Gleghorn: I think they had their own pastor.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Were there just the two churches here at that time?
Helen Gleghorn: At that time, I don’t recall. And the Sundays we didn’t have a preacher, sometimes we’d go to the Baptist Church, not every Sunday. But I don’t remember too much about not having church services every Sunday but that’s the way it was. Now back before I started school and after first, second, third grade, I remember the revival meetings, we had a tabernacle behind the church and my Uncle Billy Borah [William Joshua "Billy" Borah, 1892-1974, husband of Monnie Essie Cannon Borah, 1892-1993] would furnish straw, bring truck loads of straw and put on the ground and those that had little ones would bring a pallet and get them to sleep and lay them down on the straw on that pallet. Uncle Warren Fuller [Riley Warren Fuller, 1902-1995] led singing and Willie Byers played the piano.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: I heard Willie Byers could play that piano really well.
Helen Gleghorn: Oh man, she, she could tear a piano up! Never had a lesson in her life, she played by ear. I’m sure you’ve heard the story when she got the piano…?
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Yes…
Helen Gleghorn: She played it all the way home on the back of the pickup?
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Yes, we have an interview with her in our files.
Helen Gleghorn: Yes. My mother, we called her Ivy and Willie were very best friends all through school. They both went to Euless School also and through school and throughout life they were great friends…and third cousins, I don’t know how but they were.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Well, just to kind of wrap everything up, is there any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Helen Gleghorn: Well, let me tell you about candidate speaking, the candidates, I remember the County Commissioner, every year or two years and my Granddaddy Ferris worked for the County and he was always involved. If his party lost then he was without a job so they did a good job, the roads were dirt roads and they kept them graded real well. The County did. Pipeline Road was just mud when it rained but they kept the ruts down pretty good and they would park the equipment in our yard on that hill. The grader, I guess that’s what you’d call it, I used to love to play on those things, I’d get up there and, so one day Mother said, "Don’t get on that thing you’re going to get hurt", and I didn’t mind her, and I cut my leg on the blade, on the corner of the blade and I limped down to the garage thinking, what am I going to do, it was bleeding bad. I went in and said, "Mother, I cut my leg" and she said, "How did you do that," I said, "I scraped it on a nail down in the garage". She never did know that I cut it on the blade, but I didn’t get back on that thing for a while. (General laughter)
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Did the County Commissioner used to come and campaign down here?
Helen Gleghorn: Yes, at the school; they would have candidate speakers come to the school in front of the old building [current location of South Euless Elementary School] and they’d have tables set up out there and I don’t know anything about loud speakers but you could hear, they had something rigged up, and there was one man, Mr. Daugherty that always ran, and I can’t tell you who my Granddaddy’s boss was but he always ran against my Granddaddy’s candidate, and he’d get up and he’d say, I-R-E-M Daugherty, I-R-E-M Daugherty (laughter). Nobody ever did tell him to say it better. Anyway, I remember that as a little itty bitty kid and I remember the kids would just run wild, I imagine I was about 5 and Bobby Fuller threw a rock, hit me in the left eye, I’ve been partially blind in it ever since, but that was just kid stuff…(laughter)
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Oh my! I’m sorry to hear that. Do you think it was safer back then, I mean for kids to run around till dusk and the parents didn’t have to worry about them like the way we worry about kids today?
Helen Gleghorn: Oh yes, yeah, yes, yes. When I was in my early teens I lived on my bicycle. Mother would tell me what time to be in and I’d just go all over the countryside and visit everyone along the way, and sometimes I’d over stay my time. Granddaddy Cannon had a field right across the road from where Grandfather Whitener lived, the field was of Crape Myrtle, big Crape Myrtle trees and a barbed wire fence around the area and I’d get up on top of that hill and I’d stop, lay that bicycle down and crawl through that fence and I’d go to grabbing flowers and blossoms and then I’d get on my bike and run home and I’d say, I know I’m late but I stopped to pick you some flowers (general laughter). It kept me out of trouble a time or two.
Ofa Faiva-Siale: Very good, well, I really want to thank you Ms. Helen, thank you for taking this time to share your life memories with us.
Helen Gleghorn: That’s it. I’m glad we were able to have it done.
September 29, 2011
Fuller House, Heritage Park, Euless, Texas
Note to the reader: Helen Gleghorn passed away before she could proof the final draft of her interview. Her first cousin, Weldon Green Cannon, graciously helped with the final version of this project.
*Text in parenthesis and/or italicized were added for clarity and flow.